On the Rim

Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charlie Duke have just arrived on the rim of North Ray Crater. John reported, “As we climbed the rim to North Ray, it was really a steep slope going right up to the edge of the rim. Of course, the old rover didn’t notice; it just went right up.” Charlie continued, “The slope must be on the order of 20 degrees. You don’t realize it ’til you get off and turn around.” As they looked around they could see that the rim was populated with rocks in all sizes and shapes. These rocks had been thrown up and out when a large object impacted the Moon’s surface over three billion years ago. The resulting hole is North Ray Crater.

I have painted John on the left selecting tools for the traverse while Charlie is removing the Hasselblad camera with the 500-millimeter telephoto lens from beneath the seat. Charlie would later report, “We did take the 500-mm photos of the interior of the crater. I couldn’t see the bottom and I wasn’t going to get close enough to see in because there was no way I could have gotten out if I had fallen in.”

John agreed, “Now I tell you, I can’t see the bottom of it, and I’m just as close to the edge as I’m going to get.” He laughed, “That’s the truth.”

North Ray was the largest crater, 300 feet in diameter, and deepest crater, 750 feet below the rim, directly explored in the Apollo Program.Alan Bean


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